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The Economy of Nature - Robert E. Ricklefs - Google Books ; Dec 11, This classic introductory text is best known for its vivid examples fromnatural history, comprehensive coverage of evolution, and quantitative This fully revised To ask other Ricklefs Available in: Paperback.
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Ricklefs, R. The Economy of Nature: Robert E. Ricklefs: Books Ricklefs: Books - Amazon. Population ecology - Calculating population growth Britannica. Source: Adapted from Robert E. Ricklefs, The Economy of Nature, 3rd edition, copyright Additional Reading The Economy of Nature: Amazon. Ricklefs, Rick Losos, J. Ricklefs and Rick Relyea, W. Fall Office: , E-mail: damschen wisc.
Office Hours Contributed by Robert E. Ricklefs, November 19, sent for review June 13, Deterministic processes, such as natural selection, are thus Avian Energetics and Nutritional Ecology C.
Carey Springer ; The symposium featured papers by James R. King, William A. Tucker, and Robert E. The community approach to ecology is concerned with understanding the diversity and relative abundances of different kinds of organisms living together in the same place.
The community approach focuses on interactions between populations, which both promote and limit the coexistence of species. These interactions include feeding relationships, which are responsible for the movement of energy and materials through the ecosystem, providing a link between the community and ecosystem approaches. Community studies have considerably expanded their scale in recent years to consider the distribution of species over the surface of the earth and the history of change in community composition—or more generally, global patterns of biodiversity.
The study of ecosystems deals with movements of energy and materials and how these movements are influenced by climate and other physical factors. Ecosystem function reflects the activities of organisms as well as physical and chemical transformations of energy and materials in the soil, atmosphere, and water. Plants, algae, and some bacteria transform the energy of sunlight into the stored chemical energy of carbohydrates through photosynthesis.
In eating those photosynthetic organisms, animals transform some of the energy available in those carbohydrates into animal biomass.
Thus, the activities of organisms as different as bacteria and birds can be compared by describing the energy transformations of populations in such units as watts per Figure 1.
This satellite image of the North Atlantic Ocean during the first week of June, , shows the Gulf Stream moving along the coast of Florida and breaking up into large eddies as it begins to cross the Atlantic toward northern Europe.
Warm water is indicated by red and cold water by green or blue, and then by red at the top of the picture. In spite of their commonalties, however, community and ecosystem approaches to ecology provide different ways of looking at the natural world. We may speak of a forest ecosystem, or we may speak of the community of animals and plants that live in the forest, using different jargon and referring to different facets of the same ecological system.
The biosphere approach to ecology is concerned with the largest scale in the hierarchy of ecological systems. This approach tackles the movements of air and water, and the energy and chemical elements they contain, over the surface of the earth see, for example, Figure 1.
Ocean currents and winds carry the heat and moisture that define the climates at each location on earth, which in turn govern the distributions of organisms, the dynamics of populations, the composition of communities, and the productivity of ecosystems. Plants, animals, and microorganisms play different roles in ecological systems The largest and most conspicuous forms of life, plants and animals, perform a large share of the energy transformations within the biosphere, but no more so than the countless microorganisms in soils, water, and sediments.
The characteristics that distinguish plants, animals, fungi, protists, and bacteria have important implications for the way we study and come to understand nature because different kinds of organisms have different functions in natural systems Figure 1.
Bacteria not only gave rise to all other forms of life, but modified the biosphere, making it possible for more complex forms of life to exist. Photosynthetic bacteria present over 3 billion years ago in the earliest ecosystems on earth produced oxygen as a by-product of carbon dioxide assimilation. The resulting increase in oxygen concentration in the atmosphere and oceans eventually permitted the evolution of complex, mobile life forms with high metabolic requirements, which have dominated the earth for the last million years.
As these new forms of life evolved, however, their simpler ancestors persisted because their unique biochemical capabilities allowed them to use resources and tolerate ecological conditions that their more complex descendants could not.
Indeed, the characteristics of modern ecosystems depend on the activities of many varied forms of life, with each major group filling a unique and necessary role in the biosphere. Archaebacteria Simple prokaryotic organisms lacking an organized nucleus and other cell organelles. Adapted to living in extreme conditions of high salt concentration, high temperature, and pH both acid and alkaline.
Eubacteria Like archaebacteria, simple prokaryotic organisms having a wide variety of biochemical reactions of ecological importance in cycling elements through the ecosystem. Many forms are symbiotic or parasitic. Secondary symbiosis involving the capture of red algae provided photosynthesis capability.
Origin of plastid Various protists An extremely diverse group of mostly single-celled eukaryotes—organisms having nuclear membranes and other cell organelles—ranging from slime molds and protozoans to the photosynthetic dinoflagellates, brown algae, and diatoms. Red algae Perhaps species of photosynthetic protists distinguished by several accessory photosynthetic pigments. Predominately coastal in distribution, the coralline algae are important reef builders.
Green algae One of the lines of phototsynthetic protists, which are responsible for most of the biological production in aquatic systems, and thought to have been the ancestor of green plants.
Green plants Complex, primarily terrestrial photosynthetic photoautotrophic organisms responsible for fixing most of the organic carbon in the biosphere. Fungi Primarily terrestrial heterotrophic organisms of great importance in recycling plant detritus in ecosystems. Many forms are pathogenic and others form important symbioses lichens, mycorrhizae. Animals Aquatic and terrestrial heterotrophic organisms that feed on other forms of life or their remains.
Complexity and mobility have led to remarkable diversification of animal life. Figure 1. The major divisions of life and their evolutionary relationships are shown by the branching pattern at left.
Animals, like plants, need large surfaces for exchanging substances with their environment. A modest pair of human lungs has a surface area of about square meters, which is half the size of a tennis court.
By internalizing their exchange surfaces in lungs, gills, and guts, animals can achieve bulk and streamlined body shapes, and they can develop the skeletal and muscular systems that make mobility possible. In addition, the internalized exchange surfaces of terrestrial animals lose less water by evaporation than do the exposed leaves of plants, so that animals need not be continuously supplied with water.
Photo by R. Plants use the energy of sunlight to produce organic matter All ecological systems depend on transformations of energy. For most systems, the ultimate source of that energy is sunlight. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms use the energy of sunlight to synthesize organic molecules from carbon dioxide and water.
On land, most plants have structures with large exposed surfaces—their leaves—to capture the energy of sunlight. Their leaves are thin because surface area for light capture is more important than bulk. Rigid stems support their aboveground parts. To obtain carbon, terrestrial plants take up gaseous carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. At the same time, they lose prodigious amounts of water by evaporation from their leaf tissues to the atmosphere.
Thus, plants need a steady supply to replace water lost during photosynthesis.
Not surprisingly, most plants are firmly rooted in the ground, in constant touch with water in the soil. Animals feed on other organisms or their remains The organic carbon produced by photosynthesis provides food, either directly or indirectly, for the rest of the ecological community. Some animals consume plants; some consume animals that have eaten plants; others, such as fly larvae, consume the dead remains of plants or animals.
Fungi are highly effective decomposers The fungi assume unique roles in the ecosystem because of their distinctive growth form. Fungi, like plants and animals, are multicellular except for the unicellular yeasts and their relatives. Most fungal organisms consist of threadlike structures called hyphae that are only a single cell in diameter.
These hyphae may form a loose network, which can invade plant or animal tissues or dead leaves and wood on the soil surface, or they can grow together into the reproductive structures that we recognize as mushrooms Figure 1.
Because fungal hyphae can penetrate deeply, they readily decompose dead plant material, eventually Figure 1. A mammal browsing on vegetation on a savanna in East Africa emphasizes the fundamental differences between plants, which assimilate the energy of sunlight and use it to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic carbon compounds, and animals, which derive their energy ultimately from the production of plants.
Introduction the Plasmodium organism responsible for human malaria, cause debilitating diseases. Bacteria have a wide variety of biochemical mechanisms for energy transformations Figure 1. The mushrooms produced by this sulphur tuft fungus Hypholoma fasciculare in Belgium are fruiting bodies produced by the much larger, unseen masses of threadlike hyphae that penetrate decaying wood and leaf litter.
Fungi digest their foods externally, secreting acids and enzymes into their immediate surroundings, cutting through dead wood and dissolving recalcitrant nutrients from soil minerals. Fungi are the primary agents of rot—unpleasant to our senses and sensibilities, perhaps, but very important to ecosystem functioning.
Protists are the single-celled ancestors of more complex life forms The protists are a highly diverse group of mostly singlecelled eukaryotic organisms that includes the algae, slime molds, and protozoans.
The bewildering variety of protists fills almost every ecological role. For instance, algae, including the single-celled diatoms, are the primary photosynthetic organisms in most aquatic systems. Algae can also form large plantlike structures—some seaweeds can be up to meters in length see, for example, Figure 1. The other members of this group are not photosynthetic. Foraminifera and radiolarians are protozoans that feed on tiny particles of organic matter or absorb small dissolved organic molecules, and that secrete shells of calcite or silicate.
Some of the ciliate protozoans are effective predators—on other microorganisms, of course. Many protists are commensal or parasitic, living in the guts or tissues of their host organisms. Some of these, such as Bacteria are the biochemical specialists of the ecosystem.
Each bacterium consists of a simple, single cell without a nucleus to contain its DNA and lacking any other intracellular membranes and organelles. Nonetheless, the enormous range of metabolic capabilities of the diverse bacteria, as well as their minute size, enables them to accomplish many unique biochemical transformations and occupy parts of the ecosystem that larger organisms cannot.
Some bacteria can assimilate molecular nitrogen N2, the common form found in the atmosphere , which they use to synthesize proteins and nucleic acids. Others can use inorganic compounds such as hydrogen sulfide H2S as sources of energy.
Plants, animals, fungi, and most protists cannot accomplish these feats. Furthermore, many bacteria live under anaerobic conditions lacking free oxygen in mucky soils and sediments, where their metabolic activities regenerate nutrients, making them available for plants.
We will have much more to say about the special place of bacteria in the functioning of the ecosystem later in this book. Many types of organisms cooperate in nature Because each type of organism is specialized for a particular way of life, it is not surprising that many different types of organisms live together in close association.
A close physical relationship between two different types of organisms is referred to as a symbiosis. When each partner in a symbiosis provides something that the other lacks, their relationship is called a mutualism. Some familiar examples include lichens, which comprise a fungus and an alga in one organism Figure 1.